Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Victor Mentality II

Was having a chat with an old school friend yesterday who works for Cammell Laird's and talk got round to the MoD and its Byzantine procurement processes. He quipped that with the number of RFA vessels laid up there, Cammell Laird's in Birkenhead must be the UK's largest Royal Navy base.

I have personal experience of selling things to the MoD. When some new technology is ordered they require spares for at least 10 years to guarantee continued availability - the fact that the spares sit in a warehouse, degrade and go out of warranty seems lost on them. Not only that, but the technology itself becomes redundant in half that time, resulting in subsequent spares being astronomically priced due having to retain tooling to make them. Additionally, you have to fill a myriad forms that take forever to collate. Someone has to pay for this, which invariably results in the price of a pencil rising to well over 3 times the price of buying one in Rymans. The waste is just phenomenal.

A friend over the road makes a mint from repairing UK Navy technology for which they don't have the expertise to repair themselves, or was fitted badly (by the RN) in the first place.

I'm convinced a Merchant Navy ship management company (of which there are hundreds, and several within the UK) could run, staff and provision the UK Navy for less than a tenth of what it costs using the MoD's own bureaucracy. That would free up money for recruiting staff, rather than having vessels laid up due to the lack of suitably qualified and experienced technical senior rates .

It's another example of the public believing we have one of the world's premier navies, when in reality most of the vessels never put to sea due to having no-one to man them. Victor Mentality at work again.

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